John Legend, tech figures donate to Philly DA Larry Krasner's re-election bid

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Out-of-state donors have boosted incumbent Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s re-election campaign in recent months, with singer and activist John Legend and executives from top tech firms among the notable donors, according to campaign finance records released this week.

Legend, a prominent criminal justice reform advocate who has called for an end to cash bail, donated $3,000 to Krasner’s campaign last November, the records show. Friends at Work, a firm led by Legend’s manager, Ty Stiklorius, donated $12,600.

Other prominent donors include Zillow founder Richard Barton and his wife, philanthropist Sarah Barton, as well as Patty Quillin, the wife of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Quillin donated $3,100 to Krasner’s campaign during the most recent reporting cycle, while Sarah Barton donated $3,000.

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“We enjoy broad support, locally and nationally,” Brandon Evans, Krasner’s campaign manager, said in a statement to Philadelphia’s public radio station, WHYY, which was first to note the campaign contributions.

Krasner’s campaign did not immediately return a request for additional comment.

Krasner raised a total of nearly $162,000 toward his campaign in 2020. He faces a challenge in the Democratic primary from Carlos Vega, a former prosecutor who has raised about $132,000 since announcing his campaign in December, according to records.

Critics have accused Krasner of failing to crack down on violent crime during his tenure. Philadelphia reported 499 homicides in 2020 alone, up 40% compared to the previous year.

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Vega has pledged to crack down on gun violence and homicides if elected to office. His prominent donors include local police and first responder unions, including the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, as well as nearly two dozen former city prosecutors.

Prior to his stint as attorney general, Krasner worked as a defense attorney known for suing the Philadelphia Police Department on 75 occasions. He has pursued a number of reforms to Philadelphia’s justice system since becoming district attorney in 2018, including an end to cash bail payments for low-level crimes.

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